Bill Belichick Took It Personally…
By the time you read this, the numbers and the facts may be wrong and this would have been a complete waste of time. But on the off chance that the Patriots haven’t made any more free-agent acquisitions, let’s break it down and see what could be on the way.
The New England Patriots still have over $47,300,000 to spend this offseason should they wish to do so. That’s incredible considering that we have already spent the most money — in about a day. In less than 24 hours, the Patriots have guaranteed over $137.5 million in contracts to free agents. That is 2nd all-time in guaranteed money given out in a single offseason, likely smashing the record in the next few days (maybe by the time you read this). It’s scary to think they still have so many options to solidify in positions that they feel need improvement. The Patriots positioned themselves to be a major player this offseason with some of the moves they made last year. They sacrificed one year; they weren’t planning on being bad for long.
So far, the Patriots have taken a very interesting approach, everyone thought they would target the top receivers in the free agency period, but they went in a completely different direction, they did target elite pass catchers but just at the tight end position. The Patriots have managed to acquire the best tight ends available in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, making them the 3rd and 4th highest-paid players in their position.
The Plan on Offense
Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels seem to be reverting to a system that saw the Patriots have the most potent offense in the league during the 2012 season where the team was averaging 35 points a game. That team, similarly, had 2 elite tight ends, 2 guys by the names of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Smith and Henry are in no way comparable to the other 2 but they are damn good tight ends in their own right and can do a great job attacking teams in the middle of the field. The Patriots have also added speed at the wide receiver position, Nelson Alghlor who had a pretty impressive season in Vegas last year, racking up 48 catches for 896 yards and 8 touchdowns. His best tally in both yards and touchdown receptions. He was quite consistent for the Raiders last season and if he can continue the upward trajectory, he could turn out to be a legit deep threat for the Patriots. Kendrick Bourne was another player the Patriots managed to acquire at the wide receiver position, a player who appears to complement Aghlor quite well. Bourne is a very solid receiver who although, may not carry the deep threat that Aghlor has, can be very reliable in the short to intermediate pass game. Again, adding to the Patriots’ ability to attack teams down the middle of the field. Oh, and Julian Edelman will be back too.
So, the question for defensive coordinators around the league will be, who do you line up against the Patriots schematically? There are so many things to consider. The deep threat of Aghlor, 2 big-bodied tight ends who have good speed and can both catch, Julian Edelman who can still run every route and catch every ball from the slot, as well as Kendrick Bourne.
Once you have started to think that you may be able to defend against the pass, you remember they have an army of running backs who all possess a different skillset to hurt you in several ways. Finally, you get to Cam Newton, who is still 6’5, 250 lbs, and can still run over your best defender if he so chooses. The Patriots have created a match-up nightmare for teams and with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels designing and calling the plays with all these new toys they have, good luck trying to stop them.
Bill Got His Defence Back!
The Patriots have rarely struggled in defense. Even guys who you have never heard of have come into the Patriots’ defense and played lights out. Not only are the Patriots making huge investments on offense, but they have also strengthened on defense. Along with Patrick Chung and Don’t’a Hightower coming back from opting out, the Patriots have added veteran defensive ends Mathew Judon and Henry Anderson as well as cornerback Jalen Mills and a few other pieces on defense. Bill Belichick always knows how to get his boys set up to nullify teams on offense. His coaching has never been in doubt and that he has decided to spend and bring in some real talent, don’t be surprised if the Patriots go on a run this season… and they aren’t even done yet.